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More than a quarter of drivers in Ireland, 27%, would be anxious on some level at the prospect of driving abroad in a right hand drive country poll results released today by the AA suggest. The poll which quizzed just short of 2,500 people on the topic last week also suggests that higher numbers of females than males are daunted by the prospect.
The research was carried out in connection with the AA’s European Breakdown Service which is collating data on the attitudes and behaviours of Irish drivers while abroad.
At 42%, more than double the percentage of females than males, 17%, said they would be apprehensive about getting behind the wheel in a country where they drive on the right. It’s not the physical act of “driving on the wrong side” however that worries drivers the most the AA reveals.
Foreign road traffic laws it seems are most likely to worry those motoring abroad. This is followed by the discomfort of dealing with unfamiliar driver customs and behaviours, alien road layouts and being stumped by the native road signs. Right hand drive roundabouts in particular were identified as something Irish motorists are apprehensive to tackle.
Other potential stress points featured on the AA’s list were not being able to communicate if they were to break down, getting to grips with driving a hire car and the actuality of driving on the opposite side of the road.
“We knew road layouts were an issue for people when driving abroad but we didn’t expect traffic laws to trump that especially since the information is readily available online.” Says Miriam O’ Neill, AA Press Officer. “A bit of advanced research should put your mind at rest on this front. As for the behaviour of local drivers, it all depends on where you go. Personally I was quite happy to observe Cairo traffic from the lofty heights of my tour bus; not for the faint of heart.”
Tying in with anxieties surrounding unfamiliar road traffic laws the AA reveals that 24% of those they polled have had the experience of being stopped by the local traffic police while driving or travelling as a passenger in a car abroad. The majority of these were stopped in France, followed in ascending order by the USA, UK, Italy and Australia.
Almost twice as many men, 30% compared to 16%, as women shared that they had been stopped by police while driving abroad.
Of those who shared further details of their experiences being stopped by foreign traffic ploice, half said they found them to be intimidating, a third hadn’t a clue what was being said to them and a third again drove away with a fine. Traffic police in the UK and France appear to be most stern; 68% stopped in the UK and 55% stopped in France said they felt intimated. This compares with 31% stopped in Italy for example.
AA advice and requirements for driving in other countries
Notes to the editor;
(The below data was collected via an online poll issued on 14/07/14)
Fig. 1 How confident/unconfident are you at the prospect of driving on the right hand side of the road while driving in a right hand drive country? (Based on 2,495 responses)
|Doesn’t apply to me||8.62%|
Fig. 2 How confident/unconfident are you at the prospect of driving on the right hand side of the road while driving in a right hand drive country? (Based on 1,793 responses)
(MALE RESPONDENTS ONLY)
|Doesn’t apply to me||6.69%|
Fig. 3 How confident/unconfident are you at the prospect of driving on the right hand side of the road while driving in a right hand drive country? (Based on 1,328 responses)
(FEMALE RESPONDENTS ONLY)
|Doesn’t apply to me||12.05%|
Fig. 4 In terms of driving abroad how nervous, if at all, would you say the following make you? (Based on 2,432 responses) :
|Very nervous||Somewhat nervous||Neutral||Not very nervous||Not at all nervous|
|Not being able to understand road signs.||16.92%||42.08%||14.51%||15.05%||11.43%|
|Unfamiliar driver customs and behaviours||17.17%||45.32%||14.24%||13.45%||9.27%|
|Driving on the right||15.38%||28.30%||14.17%||16.83%||25.31%|
|Not being able to communicate if I break down||19.26%||39.31%||17.85%||14.06%||9.53%|
|Unfamiliar road layouts||18.44%||42.66%||15.48%||14.15%||9.28%|
|Unfamiliar road traffic laws||19.97%||45.05%||13.66%||13.58%||7.73%|
|Driving a hire car I’m not familiar with||12.77%||28.20%||19.15%||17.69%||22.19%|
Fig. 5 Have you ever been stopped by police while driving/travelling as a passenger while abroad? (Based on 2,487 responses)
|More than three times||2.61%|
Fig. 6 Have you ever been stopped by police while driving/travelling as a passenger while abroad?
MALE RESPONDENTS ONLY (Based on 1,793 responses)
|More than three times||3.74%|
Fig. 7 Have you ever been stopped by police while driving/travelling as a passenger while abroad?
FEMALE RESPONDENTS ONLY (Based on 1,317 responses)
|More than three times||1.21%|
Fig. 8 Which of the following is true in your case in relation to being stopped by police when driving abroad? (Based on 291 responses)
|I have received a fine||32.99%|
|I have felt intimidated by local traffic police||47.77%|
|I couldn’t understand what they were saying||33.33%|
Fig. 9 Of those who have been stopped by local police, below are the top 5 country/continent in which the most recent incident occurred:
|% who felt intimidated by|